Basic Models of General Education
Excerpted from "GENERAL EDUCATION REFORM AS ORGANIZATIONAL
CHANGE: INTEGRATING CULTURAL AND STRUCTURAL CHANGE"
Scholarly Discipline Model
In the scholarly discipline model (Newton, 2000), the ideally educated person is a beginning practitioner of the basic disciplines who has an understanding of the key concepts and the methods of inquiry that scholars use. In its purest form, this model is an introduction to the separate disciplines. It views scholarly disciplines as the developers and “storehouses of human knowledge” (172), and it focuses on the importance of specialization. According to Newton, this model became popular with the advent of the research universities where undergraduate students were viewed as novice practitioners of the disciplines. Its
greatest advantage is that it offers a rigorous introduction to the basic concepts of the chosen discipline and the methods by which scholars analyze and solve problems in the discipline.
Major criticisms include its fragmentation, the absence of an attempt to effectively communicate the relevance of the disciplines to students and society, and its focus on what is taught instead of what is learned. The scholarly discipline model is still the dominant model of general education
among liberal arts faculty in universities in the United States.